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US: Egg Recall Following Salmonella Outbreak

An Alabama-based cage-free egg farm is recalling its large eggs due to reports of numerous people falling ill after eating them. The eggs were sold in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee; the illnesses were reported between July 10 and August 7. According to USA Today, 14 people have been infected with a strain of Salmonella, which can cause diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. The CDC is urging people with these eggs still in their refrigerators to return them to the store for a refund or throw them away, and to sanitize drawers and shelves where the eggs were kept.

Unfortunately, this is an oft-repeated story when it comes to contaminated foods in grocery stores. From lettuce to chicken to eggs, meats and more, reports of consumers falling ill just seem to mount up. In fact, raw chicken has been found to be responsible for the most outbreak-associated illnesses, with food testing through the years showing that chicken is particularly prone to contamination with dangerous pathogens, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Raw chicken in and of itself has become a notorious carrier of salmonella, as well as camplylobacter, clostridium perfringens and listeria. But as I mentioned, poultry is not the only food that can make you sick.

Another problem is that many people confuse organic, free-range eggs with cage-free. While several U.S. states ban caged hens, just because they’re cage-free doesn’t mean they’re range-free. You see, "cage-free" still does not mean the chickens were raised under ideal conditions. They still may not have access to the outdoors, and they still may be in excessively cramped quarters, even if they’re allowed to walk around.

All of this underscores the need for you to protect yourself when it comes to infection protection. Shop with your pocketbook; look for organic, range-free eggs, as well as organic, free-ranging dairy and meats. Better yet, find a local co-op or farmer with whom you can set up purchase plans for these foods.

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